Positively Pink: How cold cap therapy helps breast cancer patients keep their hair

Positively Pink

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Dr. Richard Zelkowitz has been treating patients with breast cancer for decades. He says that people often worry about not just health but quality of life issues as they prepare for chemotherapy or radiation.

“I have never met a woman or even a man whose going to need chemotherapy, who at some point during our first or maybe the second visit, didn’t ask me about their hair, so it’s had a huge impact for quality of life for patients,” says Dr. Zelkowitz.

Dr. Zelkowitz helped his mother through her journey with breast cancer and knows firsthand the issues people worry about.

He is thrilled to be able to offer his patients an option to help preserve their locks. It is a cold cap which is worn on their head during treatments at St. Vincent’s Medical Center. He is responsible for bringing this technology to the Hartford Healthcare system.

“Basically what it does is it constricts the vessels and reduces the amount of chemo that goes to the scalp,” he says.

Dr. Zelkowitz says a key feature is that it has never shown patients to have a higher incidence of cancer in the areas covered by the scalp during treatments.

He says his patients are just relieved they have one less thing to worry about.

“That’s what every doctor’s goal is. To make the patient better and make the ordeal less onerous.”

The treatment is not covered by insurance but Dr. Zelkowitz works with many generous organizations that help patients cover the cost.

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